Friday, January 23, 2015

On December 29, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called for a national election to be held on January 25 after government presidential candidate and former European commissioner Stavros Dimas failed to garner the 180 votes in the third and final round of voting in Parliament. Under the constitution, the legislature was dissolved on December 31. The new Parliament will reconvene on February 5 following the national election.

On January 25, a total of 9,808,760 people will be eligible to vote, the majority of whom (5,060,877) are women. The largest number of Greek voters is in the 42-47 age group, with 1,003,743 individuals between these ages registered on the official electoral lists. There are 273,941 newly registered voters casting their ballots on January 25, of whom 224,272 are aged 18-21. The rest are new citizens who were only recently issued state identification cards and registered on the electoral lists.

In total, 18 official parties and 4 alliances are taking part in the forthcoming election. The main parties are: New Democracy, Syriza, PASOK, Golden Dawn, Independent Greeks, Communist Party (KKE), Democratic Left (DIMAR), Movement of Democratic Socialists, To Potami (The River).

Election results will be uploaded as soon as they are processed on: Parliamentary Elections 2014; Interior Ministry: Previous election results (1996-2009)

The European Central Bank (ECB) could begin buying Greek state bonds from July, after Greece repays maturing bonds currently held by ECB, Mario Draghi told reporters on January 22. Responding to questions, the European central banker added that the same general regulation that applies to all Eurozone member-states will also apply to Greece: the ECB could buy up to 33% of state bonds traded in the secondary market, or not more than 25% of any specific bond issue. 

Draghi emphasised that in the case of Greece, the country’s participation in the quantitative easing (QE) programme meant that an exception set by ECB on accepting Greek state bonds as collateral – for as long as the country was in an adjustment programme - was valid.

The impeding general election in Greece, on January 25, has sparked heated debates over whether and how Greek politics could affect the Euro zone. Some of the most important think tanks internationally have produced papers or hosted events this election. Brussels-based Bruegel has published two articles in January on the subject: Why a Grexit is more costly for Germany than a default inside the euro area, written by Zsolt Darvas and Pia Hüttl (01.16), which came as an answer to an IFO Institute’s short paper. Earlier, Guntram B. Wolff wrote an article titled Why Grexit would not help Greece for Bruegel. The European Policy Centre has hosted a speech by Athens University Professor George Pagoulatos on January 21 on Greek elections and crisis – potential outcome and perspectives.

Across the Atlantic, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace republished two articles on Greece: As Greece Votes, Europe’s Future Hangs in the Balance (January 20), by Richard Youngs and Should China Be Worried About the Eurozone? by Zhang Lihua and Vasilis Trigkas. Carnegie also published a very interesting exchange of views between academics and journalists, over the question Are Greece and the Euro Compatible? Atlantic Council published an article by Frances G. Burwell Another Greek Crisis for Europe? Not This Time…
Greek yogurt has become quite trendy in Italy over the last three years, according to figures showing that shares and exports to our neighboring country have more than doubled. Several Greek yogurt dairy companies are already exporting yogurt products to Italy with great success, while Vivartia announced its partnership with Granarolo a year ago, the largest Italian dairy group that took over the launching and exclusive distribution of Greek yogurt in the Italian market. However, the first Greek company that decided to invest in the Italian yogurt market was FAGE, having also founded Fage Italia Srl,  100% a subsidiary of the group FAGE, charged with the distribution of products.

According to the report of the Economic and Trade Affairs Bureau of the Greek Embassy in Rome, yoghurt exports from Greece to Italy have risen from €8.57 million in 2011 to €21.5 million in 2013, while in the nine-month period of January - September 2014, exports have broken all records, reaching the €28.77 million Euros. As for the main reasons for the amazing rise of Greek yogurt in one more market: Italian consumers prefer a healthy lifestyle and of course the proximity of the Italian market that makes exports easy and affordable.